Free hugs malaysia: legal concern

February 1, 2008 · Print This Article

“The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging. ”
-Warren Buffet

For the moment:
Luvstory-Sigur Rós & Mogwai

A few days ago I sent out an event invitation via Facebook for a Proposed Free Hugs session in Kuala Lumpur. The idea of the invitation is to properly gauge the support of the idea, clear legal issues (if any) and finally make it happen.

I have been receiving messages and this is my response to them. For the sake of understanding I will explain it in 3 different posts. Legal, religion and culture.

Should anyone feel I have not given an accurate response or that I am missing something out, please email me at ratinamou@gmail.com. To make clear, Free Hugs has nothing to do with the elections or any political parties.

First of all, I think it would suit to everyone’s interested and queries if we read the ‘Description’ box of this event invitation. I think, again, most of it will be answered and dealt with conveniently over there.

Hetish, Dzameer, Deni and Cressa brought up the concern which I think is also shared by many. Thank you for pointing it out. I would not be posting this if it wasn’t for the 4 of you.

Unlawful Assembly

I have yet to hear any express prohibition under Malaysian law prohibiting Free Hugs or something similar.

Under Malaysian law, 5 or more people gathering in public is an unlawful assembly. But not all laws are enforced and implemented in its literal interpretation. Thus, this particular law is enforced when the police/authorities deem it necessary. More often than not, due to political or public safety reasons.

If it is being literally interpreted, thus enforced, we would all be very much aware of that law and there would be no need for me to explain it to you here.

In the case of Ooi Kean Thong (and Siow Ai Wei), DBKL arrested them for allegedly hugging and kissing in public. Under the Federal Constitution of Malaysia (the most supreme law of the land), such matters/offences should fall under the authority of the Police (according List I and List II of Schedule Nine of the Constitution).

Not DBKL or Sting and the rest of the band. But the Federal Court ruled that DBKL does have the power.

  1. I don’t think it is appropriate for me to dig deeper in that case nor it is for us to speculate about what truly happen between Ooi and Siow, or how it was decided. That discussion belongs to another forum.
  2. Free hugs will be just hugging. :)
  3. Free hugs is hugging in a different nature completely. :)

For the sake of convenience, readability and understanding, I will write on the religion and culture issue in another post.

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